Absolute Hell at National Theatre - Lyttelton tickets
Absolute Hell at National Theatre - Lyttelton tickets

Absolute Hell has closed

This show has closed

About the show

Kate Fleetwood stars in a new production of Rodney Ackland’s Absolute Hell, playing at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre for a strictly limited season. Originally named The Pink Room, the play premiered in Brighton in 1952 and was panned by critics for being overly provocative. During the 1980’s, Ackland rewrote the play, renaming it Absolute Hell.

Absolute Hell was first staged in 1988 at the Orange Tree Theatre and became a critical success. Set in a post-war Soho club, desperate members drink, fight and flirt into the early hours, night after night.

The large, ensemble cast includes Kate Fleetwood, Jenny Galloway, Jonathan Coote and Carole Dance. They share the stage with Esh Alladi, Joanna David, Charles Edwards, Patricia England, Aaron Heffernan, Lloyd Hutchinson, Martins Imhangbe, Stephanie Jacob, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Anita Reynolds, John Sackville, Liza Sadovy, Jonathan Slinger, Eileen Walsh and Danny Webb.

Director Joe Hill-Gibbons takes on the play 23 years after it was first staged at the National Theatre. Hill-Gibbons is an associate artist at the Young Vic, with credits including Edward II at the National and Measure for Measure at the Young Vic. Further creative team includes set designer Lizzie Clachan, costume designer Nicky Gillibrand, lighting designer Jon Clark and sound designer Paul Arditti.

This controversial play was adapted for the BBC in 1991 starring Dame Judi Dench but is otherwise not widely known. A part of British theatre history before the abolition of the Lord Chamberlain’s theatre censorship powers, it was considered ‘a libel on the British people’ when it was first staged.

Absolute Hell runs for a limited season at London’s National Theatre, playing from 18 April to 16 June 2018 on the Lyttelton stage, with a press night on 25 April 2018.

Recommended for

British history aficionados won’t want to miss this relic of post-WWII London. Joe Hill-Gibbons is known for his reinventions of classic plays, so his take on Absolute Hell will no doubt be edgy and relevant.

Age Recommendations: Not suitable for children

Dates and times

Running time: TBC
Opened: 18 Apr 2018
Press night: 25 Apr 2018
Booking from: 16 Jun 2018
Booking until: 16 Jun 2018

Location and map

National Theatre - Lyttelton
National Theatre, Southbank
London, SE1 9PX

25 Reviews Add review

The show was actually not bad, for a show that's about post World War 2 it was amazing and made me see what happened post World War... More

sarahward 5 foot, 333 reviews, 7 helpful votes

This show is funny and dark, and the acting is simply superb. Charles Edwards and Kate Fleetwood are incredible as the leads and the... More

emilydiver 5"0, 292 reviews, 15 helpful votes

I adored this play. Powerful and heartbreaking. An incredible ensemble cast and you were really swept away in the story. Brilliant. More

bryonyjameson 5"7, 120 reviews, 2 helpful votes

A real thought provoking play with great performances throughout, not the best play I've ever seen but a worthwhile one to check out. More

Lethaniel-S-C 6", 52 reviews, 1 helpful vote

Interesting play, great performances.

caz83 5’10, 120 reviews, 2 helpful votes

I was incredibly disappointed with this show. So much so that I left at the interval which I very rarely do. Alarm bells were ringing... More

joc78 5"4, 435 reviews, 7 helpful votes

jgblunners 6'2", 224 reviews, 3 helpful votes

I'd read the reviews and some of them were really awful so I wasn't expecting much and I wondered if I'd manage the 3 hours but it... More

angelahorton 14 reviews, 0 helpful votes

rgowan 5"6, 241 reviews, 14 helpful votes